Opp in NA, Senate protests additional GST on POL products

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PPP’s Rabbani says move unconstitutional as there’s no scope in increasing GST under Article 77 of the Constitution until parliament approves it

Opposition members in the National Assembly and Senate strongly protested over the imposition of five percent additional general sales tax (GST) on petroleum products and staged walkouts from the two houses on Thursday.

As the ninth sitting of Senate’s 109th session began its proceedings, opposition members Raza Rabbani, Zahid Khan, Kalsoom Parveen, Saeedul Hasan Mandokhel and Kamil Ali Agha moved call attention notice on increase in GST and termed it as “government’s lust to collect maximum revenue from the pockets of poor masses”.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar tried to take the House into confidence over the GST increase, however to no avail.

While Rabbani termed the move unconstitutional, saying that there was no scope in increasing GST under Article 77 of the Constitution until Parliament approves it, Awami National Party (ANP)’s Abdul Ghani Bangash termed it as “a government dacoity”.

After the criticism, opposition members staged a walkout from the House and Senate Chairman Syed Nayyar Bokhari adjourned the House for Friday.

The opposition parties in National Assembly, including PPP, MQM and PKMAP, an ally of the government also staged a token walkout against the additional GST.

Leader of the opposition Syed Khursheed Shah challenged the facts and figures of the government. He said the government would collect Rs 110 billion instead of Rs 17 billion from the additional GST while the saving of $ 4 billion in the import bill is not being passed on to the people. He described the GST as an unconstitutional levy and demanded its withdrawal.

Earlier in Senate, state minister for parliamentary affairs introduced the Securities Bill 2014 to amend and consolidate the laws to protect investors and regulate the securities industry. The bill was referred to the relevant committee for further deliberations.

The House also held a debate on the president’s address to the Parliament on June 2, 2014 that continued for an hour and 19 minutes.